Over 171k households to get first tranche of housing grant

A total of 171,677 families whose houses were completely destroyed by the devastating quakes of last April and May are likely to receive first instalment of housing grant soon, as the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has directed the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) to make necessary arrangements to distribute the amount through the banking channel.

The number of households that will soon be receiving the first installment of the grant is 32 per cent of 533,454 beneficiaries identified through surveys in 11 districts hard hit by the quakes.

To distribute the fund to 171,677 households, the NRA, on May 8, released Rs 12.4 billion to Central Project Implementation Unit of MoFALD, says a press statement issued today by NRA. The unit has since made the funds available to different district development committees (DDCs).

NRA is extending a grant of Rs 200,000 to every family whose house was destroyed by quakes of last year. This grant is being distributed in three instalments of Rs 50,000, Rs 80,000 and Rs 70,000.

Although the NRA had started the process of distributing the first instalment of the grant on March 13, it has not been able to extend the amount to even one per cent of the total beneficiaries.

The NRA has not been able to expedite the grant distribution process to quake survivors — who are still spending days and nights in temporary shelters — as it failed to make timely arrangements to distribute the funds through the banking channel.

Its attempt to make use of banking channel to distribute the grant bore fruit on May 27, when it entered into agreements with umbrella organisations of commercial banks, development banks and finance companies.

Based on these agreements, the NRA later signed 53 agreements with individual banks and financial institutions, says the statement. Now, these banks are being mobilised to extend first instalment of the grant amount to 171,677 households.

“The DDCs should coordinate with branches of different banks and financial institutions in the district to distribute the grant amount,” the statement says, adding, “Arrangements have also been made to ensure no quake survivor eligible for the grant amount is left out.”

So far, the NRA has received over 28,000 complaints stating surveyors excluded their names from the list of grant beneficiaries. “Investigations are being made to confirm claims made by these people,” says the statement.

The earthquakes of April 25 and May 12 last year completely destroyed over 500,000 houses in various parts of the country.

At least Rs 286.06 billion will be required to rebuild rural houses and another Rs 90.06 billion to rebuild urban houses, says the Post Disaster Recovery Framework launched by the NRA on May 12.

Source: THT